Innovation in the heart of Europe (Innovation in the he..)
Innovation in the heart of Europe
Start date: Sep 30, 2008,
End date: Sep 29, 2011
West-Flanders and Northern France are active and successful regions in the field of innovation. Both dispose of a wide range of incentives to encourage innovation. However, the border remains an important barrier. As a result, the innovation potential – though considerable in the entire Euregion – is not being adequately exploited, which is a wasted opportunity for the region.The regions that can build both upon a large number of – small and medium – innovative companies and recognised knowledge centres, decided to cooperate in order to promote and develop innovations in the Euregion.Based on this observation, the partners have strengthened cross-border cooperation in this field. Achievements: At the start of the project, it was noted that West Flanders and northern France, both active and innovative regions, did not know each other well. One of the great merits of this project is that, for the first time, the partners established a systematic inventory of knowledge institutions and innovation stakeholders: What knowledge is available in the Euregion and where can it be found? To make the inventory useful and accessible to all, the partners opted for an online database: www.innovationeurope.eu. The database has a search engine enabling knowledge institutions and competence centres to be found using different keywords. A second major objective of the project consisted in the systematic presentation and promotion of innovative products and services developed in the Euregion to make innovation in the area more tangible and visible. To this end, the project organised monthly travelling mini-exhibitions of innovative products at 6 different locations in northern France and WestFlanders. In addition, to further promote the selected products and companies, the partners groupedthe innovative Euregionproducts in a bilingual publication.In total, the jury selected 48 innovative products and services.To put the innovation stakeholders from both regions in touch with each other, the partners organised cross-border innovation events. On 6 occasions, Innovation in the heart has been an active participant or exhibitor at major innovation events in the Euregion. Finally, the project also paid attention to encouraging cross-border contacts and cooperation in the field of innovation. These were not casual and transitory cross-border meetings, but parties that found each other thanks to the project and chose to work together. 8 companies were supported by the Innovatiecentrum West-Vlaanderen and the CIEL to find a cross-border match with a knowledge institution or another company.In addition, 11 close contacts were made as a direct result of the Interreg project. These contacts did not immediately result in an actual cooperation, but rather in a sustainable exchange of experience and knowledge.
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